NWC: Days 24-27

Apparently, sharing the prompts from the social media page for my local writers group has been a total Fail. There have been no new prompts for days 24-27. With essentially only 2 days remaining..im frustrated that it hasn’t panned out

My idea instead is that with each month, I will begin to share a new theme..with 4 theme related prompts under it to provide writers A weekly challenge to create a new piece. This solves two problems: 1) I don’t have to rely on the prompts from a group. These will be ideas based on things in my world, suggestions from other local writers, and random ideas I may stumble upon online. (2) It gives me a tad more flexibility. I work a job that  3 times a yr is incredibly demanding. I rarely get to sit and be creative in my writing daily. To be honestly brash, sometimes I’m too mentally exhausted to cook more than a heated up can of soup. A monthly theme with 4 challenges under it keeps me writing and creating new..but also gives me grace for these all too busy days. 

If (if) the group shares any prompts for Nov 29 & 30th, I will publish them here. 

Either way, return back Dec 1 for the December writing theme and 4 prompts. 

Thank you as always for your support. 

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30 Days of Thanks: Days 23 & 24

I first started taking part of 30 Days of Thanks in 2009. During the last 8 years, I have published these days of thanks on my personal social media account. This year, however, began with me teetering on the brink of financial and emotional ruin. Over the course of the year, GOD showed up and showed off time and time again. Out of the humility and gratitude of this year, I decided to share here my 30 days of Thanks here on my blog. I do hope that one, that in reading them it turns your own heart toward gratitude and that it inspires you to express that gratitude in your own way. 

Day 23: Steven, my fiancee’

You didn’t misread.

Steve of courageouschristianfather.com and I officially are looking to get married in 2018.

I never would have expected Steve. He is kind, gentle, and encouraging. He sees the beauty in my quirky nerdiness, finds my dimples and graying hair cute, and is patient with me slowing healing.

Steve is a broken person like me, and has by the fabulous Grace of GOD slowly began to rebuild a life- this time striving to keep it Christ centered.

I know he would be the first to confess that he isn’t perfect. And I know that- after all, he is a fan of my favorite team’s rival. Steve and I have had many conversations about our pasts and the weird things that GOD has used to grow us and to teach us things about ourselves and about Christ.

I didn’t know I would be able to love someone so deeply again. I certainly didn’t know that I would looking at getting married next year. I certainly have to say that this love that I have found in Steve & this future that we are looking at sharing together is nothing short of a GOD thing.

I can’t even begin to express my thankfulness for GOD placing Steve into my life.

Day 24: Joel The Brave

It is furbabyfriday, after all.

Joel also was a gift from GOD. I was struggling with unmanageable levels of anxiety. My job performance was suffering, my care of my home was slacking and care of my own well-being was nearly non-existent. I was sifting through Facebook, in some sort of means to distract myself from the disaster my life was in, and there was a post:

3 baby cats, needing a home.

And without a hesitation, I found myself responding: I want the black one. On June 23rd of this year, I welcomed into my home a tiny black boy cat that I named Joel The Brave.

GOD placed into Joel’s wheelhouse of knowledge a sweet demeanor and the ability to calm me down. Within 2 weeks of having him, my closest friends began to comment on how much better I seemed to be handling my anxiety. Within a month of having Joel, my anxiety was in half.

It’s certainly a GOD thing. Joel seems to know exactly when my anxiety is getting high and he will pounce into my lap and cuddle and purr. He will even take tiny paw and pet my face, as if in his own feline way saying “hooman..calm down”.

GOD certainly knew best when HE placed this lively, silly, firetruck loving fur baby in my life.

Happy Furbaby Friday, Y’all.

 

NWC: Days 21-23

The Facebook group from which I have been sharing these challenges for days 21 or 22.

Day 23: Write about coming together & healing

Our world is so filled with hurt, and with each day more news stories come forward that display increasing hurt.

As a Christian, I am most full aware that sin will continue to riddle the world and more hurt.

What will you write with this challenge? Will you write about a global hurt, a family betrayal, the healing after a break up or even how your immune system joins together to fight off the flu?

If you write from any of the challenges I share, or write from any writing challenge this month please comment with a link or share your piece.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 22

Day 22: For my Exs

Now, hold on before you call the crew with the white jackets and padded rooms.

I was first married in 1998. I deeply loved him. I made my mistakes and he his.

I was married a second time in 2011. We were good friends, but we were terrible at being a married couple. We certainly both made a ton of mistakes.

Then, I entered a dating relationship in 2015 that ended in incredible heartache and financial loss.

Because of these three men- 3 men that I cared very dearly for- I know so much more about myself. They have helped me to see my flaws, my weaknesses, and failures. More importantly, they have helped me understand what I do and don’t want in a relationship.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 21

Day 21: My “Bunker” Apartment

November 21. 2014. 3 Years ago today, exactly. That was the day that I moved into what I lovingly refer to as my downtown bunker.

I had just walked through my 2nd marriage. I had been at my current job for 2 months prior, which was 30 miles from where I lived with him. Moving closer only made sense.

I had so little in the apartment that first night. An Air mattress, a dresser and a few blankets. It would take me a few weeks to be able to finish moving everything, and still I found myself with so little.

Today, my apartment is .. well.. lived in. I don’t particularly have a lot of things (but I have indeed become greatly LESS materialistic after my last divorce.

My bunker… is not the fanciest of things. It is cold real tile floor mostly through out, and not all of my neighbors are particularly very.. neighborly.

But it’s mine. It keeps me dry, it keeps me warm (well, somewhat.. I do have to improvise a bit) and it is shelter.

One thing true in life: you don’t know what you truly have until everything is taken away. I have never listed my bunker on my gratitude list the last two years. I had to go through nearly losing my apartment in March of this year to become very thankful for the little 2 bedroom, 1 bath place I have in downtown. For Now, it is home.

 

30 Days of Thanks: Days 18-20

Dear whomever has the ability to fix my technical issue- please do so. I don’t like blogging delayed.

Day 18: Thankful for the Pastors

I thank GOD that I was born to a preacher, but there have also been other Pastors influential in my life.

One of the advantages of growing up as a Pastor’s kid is that I got to meet many amazing (& not too amazing) Pastors of many local churches in my region.

One of those Pastors happened to me like an earthquake. Pastor Mark.

Pastor Mark pastors a small young church plant about an hour from where I now live. By GOD using him, I came into a true saving relationship with Christ Jesus in February 2011.

Mark lovingly would call me out when I did wrong, but also would remind me of what remains the greatest lesson that a Pastor has taught me so far:

GOD loves the mess we are, and if we surrender, GOD can use that mess as a MESSAGE.

Day 19: Thankful for the ability to hear, see and speak

I don’t know if my parents have ever told me what my first words were. But I grew up being a talker, often getting into far too much trouble for talking in class.

When I went into my 30s, I found myself retreating some and becoming less talkative. Much of that was maturity, I hope. Perhaps I have learned to listen more and talk less (2 ears, 1 mouth kind of reminder). Another part of that is that I began to write more, more than I had before.

As far as sight, I do indeed thank GOD for the amazing wonders of HIS creation that I have gotten to experience. I have hiked over 200 miles of trails, seen 20 different waterfalls, visited nearly every state east of Kansas (sans Maine, New York, and New Jersey).

I am thankful that I have also seen the adorable smiles of my sons, the beauty of my sister getting married and having her first child, and even seeing the final moments of a loved ones life.

Hearing. Have you read much of my blog? You may have stumbled over the fact that I am hearing impaired, having suffered profound hearing loss in my left ear.

Yet, I love Music. Music is such a big part of me. I love to listen to music from classical Chopin to the Christian Rock of Toby Mac.

I am blessed for what I can hear, though over the last year have taken more delight in sounds. Somethings I may have once heard easily no longer can I hear.

It is in that loss of hearing that I have TRULY learned to be thankful for what I can see, what I can say, what I can hear.

Day 20: I am thankful for my job and for my coworkers

I love what I do. Sure, like any other job, my job is not without its problems or things that I may even complain about. But I truly love what I do. I get to go to work Monday through Friday, knowing that I may very well get to help someone.

I get to work with some of the greatest, yet quirky, people alive. I love my crew. Each day as I leave, I always tell them the same thing: “Everybody be careful getting home”.

Because there have been the times I lost coworkers rather unexpectedly. Or they didn’t make it home without injury.

My current coworkers are a stellar bunch of all-stars. The department I work is in majority made of of employees that have been with the company at least 10 years. These seasoned Ladies and Gents share their work experiences, their life experiences, and their lives with me. We often see each other during the week more than we see our own families (sadly).

In 2008, the economy bit me hard. I not only went through the loss of one job but two due to cutbacks. Jobs were very scarce in my area, and many people moved away to find other employment. I stayed, applying with no results.

I would pick up some part time work, but would not return full-time into the workforce until 2010.

The economy in my area has greatly improved over the last 9 years, and new jobs have begun to peak through in limited amounts. I know how tremendously blessed I am to have had my current employer for over 3 years, and my current position in the company for just over a year. It is a triple blessing that I love my job and do look forward to it, even on it’s hardest of days.

My current job and coworkers have taught me a tremendous lesson over the last year: I have a work family, even when my biological family can’t be there for me.

NWC: Days 18-20

And just when I thought that my technical woes would vanish, they didn’t. I will try to keep this current as best I can. Sorry, crew. Can I just say- I cannot stand dealing with CERTAIN internet providers… grr

Day 18: A Sport is the setting for your piece. The victory reveals something about the character.

I’ve never written much about sports, only photographed them. Since my youngest son has  played both soccer and basketball for a number of years, I would probably write about one of those two sports.. if I write about this one.

Day 19: Your audience have on googles and headphones. They can hear and see each other in the same environment.

Odd idea- that my audience for my piece would held to hear and see under the same circumstances. My hearing is poor, so I would probably add that as an element to the piece.

Day 20: Make a Fable yours. Set it in a different place and time.

Allow me to set this up a bit. A Fable, according to dictionary.com, is “a short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as charac-ters”. 

I studied literature in College, so my mind ran a muck with ideas as to which fable to retell. Being a southern belle, I am taking one of the many tale about Brier Rabbit (written by Joel Chandler Harris) and am turning in into a Scottish war tale.

 

Song Reflections: A Mighty Fortress is our GOD

Story behind the song:

A Mighty Fortress

Fortress

Not a term we use much in these days of cell phones and retweets. Simply, it was a place of high protection.

That is certainly true of our LORD. Physically, GOD is able to protect us. HE can cup his hand over us, and no harm can come. Mentally, GOD is able to keep us protected as well. So often, I pray “LORD, Guard my mind”. Not necessarily from impure thoughts (but, those do come). Guarding my mind from the painful words of others, from the lies of Satan himself, and from my tendency to all-too-oft run my mouth before I think.

GOD as a Fortress

The word “Fortress” appears only 15 times in the King James Version (KJV) Bible.

The first usage of the word fortress in the Bible is in 1 Samuel 22:4. The word translated Fortress is matsuwd (Strongs, H4686), meaning a strong place.

GOD is indeed a strong place, for whatever we may need to run to Him for or for whatever we may need to trust into His care.

We can be sure that we will be safe, our concerns safe, and our future safe. HE is GOD, and HE will fully protect it all in His Mighty Arms.

(LYRICS

A mighty Fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.

 

 

30 Days of Thanks: Day 17

Day 17: My hometown

I grew up moving quite a lot. By the age of 11, I had lived in four states and 6 cities.

Many of those places I love, but none of them am I more thankful for than my hometown.

My Hometown has a current population of 3, 170 (as of 2016, according to Google). Very small compared to most.

It doesn’t have a mall. Or a movie theatre. And the Walmart closes at midnight.

But it is home.

I grew up just outside of the city limits in a small community, population ?? I grew up on a gravel road, too narrow for school buses to come up. I went to the county high school, where I graduated in a class of 104.

My hometown isn’t perfect. Like many rural towns here in Appalachia, the city has been riddled with issues of drugs particularly over the last few years.